HNEI has an established research and technology assessment program in integrated energy and systems analysis of grid power technologies. Through this program, HNEI conducts essential research in areas of relevance to Hawaii and abroad.
HNEI’s program is focused on identifying technically-sound cost effective solutions and practical strategies that energy generators and grid operators can implement to deliver commercially viable renewable energy to achieve reduced dependence on oil and other fossil fuel resources.
In 2006, HNEI established a partnership with GE Global Research and Hawaiian Electric Company to develop high fidelity models of the various island electrical grid systems. Over the years this partnership has grown and evolved with new partners joining.
One of the methods of reducing negative impacts on electric grids from increased renewable energy utilization is to provide a storage system for dealing with excess energy when not needed on the grid. A storage system can also be useful where intermittent resources cause frequency fluctuations (see the example graph to the right). Two possible storage technologies of interest are battery systems and hydrogen generation using electrolyzers.
Smart Grids 
In 2006, HNEI established a partnership with GE Global Research and Hawaiian Electric Company to develop high fidelity models of the various island electrical grid systems. Over the years this partnership has grown and evolved with new partners joining. As a result, the following activities have either been completed or are now underway conducting research and development activities in three specific areas involving smart grids.
One effort is focused on demonstrating a smart grid system on a portion of the Maui Electric Company electric grid at Wailea on Maui. The second project includes demonstration of the ability of smart grid inverters to mitigate grid reliability impacts resulting from high penetrations of distributed photovoltaic systems. The final effort is the Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project, seeking to integrate high levels of PV, wind energy, and electric vehicles into an island-based smart grid environment on Maui.